Nishiki Market, Kyoto

Known to locals as “Kyoto’s pantry,” Nishiki Market is the place to go for a good array of street food all congregated in a long shopping street.

It is not necessary to read up on what to eat at this massive market as everything is pretty affordable and bite-sized. Just walk around and order whichever caught your eyes.

For us these tako tamago looked pretty delicious, until we got to know that there is a quail egg stuffed inside the head!!! (>_<) I can’t bear to think about how they do it….but the marinated octopus is chewy and savory.

As we continued our walk, the next stall that caught my attention was the huge prawns. These were freshly grilled and topped with only a dash of lemon juice, leaving us to enjoy the au naturel taste of the juicy prawns!

Other than cooked food, we also grabbed some drinks such as the freshly brewed soya milk (Kyoto is famed for producing good quality soy beans) and the limited edition Kyoto Coca-Cola bottles.

Even before reaching this stall, we could smell the freshly fried fish cake aroma. We were lost for choices on the type of fish cakes to buy –  with cheese, potatoes, octopus, squid etc.  There is of course many other stalls selling fresh seafood such as sashimi and shellfish but we gave them a miss, cos we were convinced that we had tasted the best in Hokkaido‘s markets.

There are also many stalls selling pickled vegetables Tsukemono (Kyoto’s specialty), the store keepers are more than generous with offering free tasting portions to customers. While I’m not a fan of those, I ended up buying a packet of little fish is called Chirimen Jako. These little fishes are semi-dried salted tiny sardines which goes well with a bowl of plain rice or porridge! Granted that there is no preservatives added, they have a short shelf-life. So do take note if you wish to buy some back. I was shocked to see them turned mouldy by the time I got back to Singapore…2 weeks later…mainly because I didn’t follow instructions to keep it refrigerated.

For the next condiment/topping, I had specifically looked for this particular store at Nishiki Market. Ochanoko-Saisai Nishikiおちゃのこさいさい 錦店497, Nakauoyacho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 604-8125  sells a mean and tasty Chilli oil furikake. Most of the furikake we purchase in Singapore are the dry type. The version here is slightly moist and coated with chilli oil. The store even prepares mini tasting cups of rice to sprinkle the furikake for customer tasting. Once again, due to short shelf life, we could only bring back 1 packet of this delicious topping. When we told the friendly staff that we came specifically to buy the furikake from their shop, he told us that they have 4 stores throughout Kyoto with most of them are conveniently located in tourist spots. So if you have friends visiting Kyoto, it should be easy to ask them to bring back a pack of this tasty treat.

Nishiki Market is open almost everyday, from 9.00 am to 6.30 pm. However, some shops are closed on either Wednesday or Sunday. We happened to visit them on a Wednesday so it’s less crowded with some shops closed but we still had a good time tasting the street food.

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